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Digital payments may cause Rs 3,800 crore loss to banks

While the government is doing everything it can to promote digital payments and people are also using the digital mode more often, the practice has come as a negative development for banks, as they may lose Rs 3,800 crore annually. The digital transactions that may cause the most losses to banks is the online card payments though PoS machines. After demonetization was announced, the government had directed banks to install lakhs of points-of-sale (PoS) machines in order to promote online payments among customers. The total number of PoS terminals before demonetization was 13.8 lakh, and now it has increased to 28.5 lakh in July 2017. If we look at average, banks are deploying around 5000 PoS machines every day.

What is happening is that this deployment of PoS machines is resulting in increase in debit plus credit card transactions. The transactions were Rs 51,900 crore in October 2016 and now they are at Rs 68,500 crore in July 2017. They had reached their peak in December 2016 at Rs 89,200 crore. A research report published by SBI points to the potential losses that the banks may have to endure. The report reads, “We estimate that for OFF-US transactions, the aggregate annual loss for card transactions at PoS terminals around is Rs 4,700 crore. However, the net revenue gain per annum from ON-US transactions at PoS would be around Rs 900 crore only. Therefore, the total annual loss to the banking industry is around Rs 3,800 crore.”

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